The purpose of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act bill (CISA) is to do away with any restrictions or impediments against sharing information between companies and proactively defend themselves against hackers. Some private companies including Apple voted against the bill. However, CISA won in the Senate with a majority vote.
Justin Harvey, chief security officer of Fidelis Cybersecurity and former CTO of FireEye/Mandiant, opposed the bill and said in a statement: “The bill essentially allows for a loose interpretation of ‘cyber threat intelligence’ and makes companies immune from prosecution by allowing them to share it with any government agency directly, including the NSA … In my opinion, the Senate passed this bill largely under intense pressure from the NSA and other gov’t intelligence agencies.” Ben Johnson, chief security strategist with Bit9, commented saying the bill will not do much to improve cyber security.
Congress had turned a blind eye to cyber security for some years and it was imminent that something be done, especially with the recent high-profile breaches. Left with no options, Congress has passed the bill although concerns of abuse exist. A similar bill was passed by the House in April. The next step would be for the House to compare the two bills and pass with the blessings of the President who has been for the legislation all along.
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